Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    babs's Avatar
    babs is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    596

    caliber choices and factors to consider??

    Newbie here..

    So I'm seeing with ammo prices, the 9mm appears to be significantly less expensive than either .40, .357 sig or .45 acp... It gives me big-time reason to keep that 92F or an XD 9 in mind for my 1st handgun as I do plan on going through enough rounds to become proficient as a pistol shooter.. I'll be broke after the gun purchase. hehe

    I did a basic search and didn't find that one big elusive thread about which caliber and the pro's/con's of the different popular rounds out there.. If anyone knows a great one.. I'm sure I'd love to check it out.

    I'm open-minded on it pretty much.. I could go anywhere from 9mm to .357 sig (interesting) to .40 s&w to .45 acp.. I already know the .45 is THE big round in the states with "stopping power" attached to it, but I imagine I wouldn't want to be the recipient of any well-placed group of any of these.. for sure. Accuracy, reliability, availability, consistency, etc... I imagine there's more than just ballistics involved to making wise choice on round.. and the particular gun brand/model/type as well.

    .. Mine will be for home defense and making hopefully nice groups at the range and for a good long while, my only working handgun.. though I may get the bug bad.

  2. #2
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Arizona, baby!
    Posts
    5,081
    Well, this'll be enough to start another caliber war. I'll say at the outset that any and all of the service-sized calibers you mentioned work fine for defense. My general opinion is that people put way too much mental energy into the minutiae of caliber and bullet selection, when all popular calibers will do fine if shot well.

    9mm is fine with good modern JHPs. It has light recoil and is less expensive to shoot than the others.

    .357SIG is more powerful, at least on paper, than 9mm and kicks harder/snappier. It is quite a bit more expensive to shoot and harder to find.

    .40S&W is more powerful than 9mm and also kicks harder/snappier.

    .45ACP works well with practically any bullet design. It kicks harder than 9mm but isn't snappy. Guns for .45ACP have to be made bigger than the others.

    Pick what you like, but remember that in the grand scheme of self-defense, the particular caliber chosen is among the least relevant factors.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

    Donate to the Christian and Stephanie Nielson Recovery fund: http://www.nierecovery.com/.

    All opinions, particularly those involving politics and Glocks, are mine and not Galco's.

  3. #3
    PhilR. is offline Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    982
    I've seen lots of threads about this subject, and most of them are by people who have never actually shot someone, or who have never had to treat someone who's been shot. Most people think "bigger is better" in so many facets of our lives, and the same thing applies to caliber as well. In real life however, the size of the hole you put in someone is not as important as where the hole actually is. A .45 through the arm only momentarily gives a bad guy pause, but a .22 through the temple will usually end the fight.

    If you were allowed only one shot at a bad guy, then yes, I would take the biggest hollowpoint I could get. However, a modern 9mm will allow me to put multiple shots of very effective HP's into someone. I will not ever try to engage someone at long distances (I'm no longer in the military nor am I a law enforcement officer), so I don't feel undergunned with 9mm at all.

    As Mike already stated, a 9mm will be less expensive to shoot, thereby allowing you to shoot more, and shooting more is the key to becoming proficient. It will also be effective as a self-defense round if you choose the right cartridge (there are many good ones). I no longer own any calibers that start with a 4. I just have no need for them, as the 9mm will do everything that I want.

    hth,
    PhilR.

  4. #4
    babs's Avatar
    babs is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    596
    Good info Mike and Phil,

    No no I definitely do not want to stir up a caliber war. hehehe I can imagine it's been done to death.. Especially if you season up the pot with some talk about M9's vs 1911's.. hehehehe NOOOOO I do not wanna get into that bee's nest.

    Excellent points about the fact that placement definitely is far more important when stopping mr home-intruder that's about to bleed all over the carpet until the cops get there.. Like I said... I wouldn't want to receive a barrage of .22 long rifles, much less a 9mm or a .45.

    Interesting... Just on the subject of pricing by itself... I looked up some JHP's just on an ammo sales website or two and it appears that 9mm lugar JHP's are significantly less, while .357 sig, .40, and .45 acp JHP's all run several dollars more for a 20 round box, but within a buck or two of each other for a box of 20...

    So for the most part, just on the cost factor, it's:

    9mm at $19 for 20rds, then if you step up you have your pick of...
    .45 for $23 for 20rds
    .40 SW and .357 Sig the same price $24 for 20rds

    (at dakotaammo.net (I just picked one at random from google)

    Either way, we're talking just a few bucks, but if you're super squeaze-the-nickel cheap and don't like a lot of recoil / kick or like a calmer gun, or the option for a smaller frame for carry, 9mm is where it's at I guess... Though that beretta I'm considering is a big ole' hog-leg of a 9mm. If you know you're gonna place the shot right and don't mind a few extra coins to go large, you can pretty much flip a coin of the larger three rounds based on what you want from the ballistics and maybe a particular brand/model that has a good reputation for a particular round maybe.. Like the glock is for 9mm (G17).

    Fascinating, Jim.

  5. #5
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Arizona, baby!
    Posts
    5,081
    Bear in mind that practice ammo for 9mm is very often significantly less expensive than the other rounds. One must practice to achieve and maintain skill, and one can shoot more "blasting grade" 9mm for an equal amount of money.

    Ammoman.com will sell you 500 rounds of 9mm Federal ball ammo for $119 shipped. The same quantity of .40 is $149. In .357 and .45, it's $169. (Wolf ammo is less expensive, but many people avoid it.) If you buy Winchester White Box or Blazer Brass at WalMart, 9mm remains considerably less expensive than the others. This obviously matters more to some people than others.

    Not sure how much you plan to shoot, but 500 rounds will last me about 2.5 practice sessions, so maybe a month. If my wife joins me, as she usually does, we'll go through most of that 500 in one session.

    Also note that defense ammo should be thoroughly tested in your particular pistol to ensure reliability, so you have to buy enough to test and carry.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 12-04-2007 at 09:06 AM.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

    Donate to the Christian and Stephanie Nielson Recovery fund: http://www.nierecovery.com/.

    All opinions, particularly those involving politics and Glocks, are mine and not Galco's.

  6. #6
    babs's Avatar
    babs is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    596
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    Bear in mind that practice ammo for 9mm is very often significantly less expensive than the other rounds. One must practice to achieve and maintain skill, and one can shoot more "blasting grade" 9mm for an equal amount of money.

    Ammoman.com will sell you 500 rounds of 9mm Federal ball ammo for $119 shipped. The same quantity of .40 is $149. In .357 and .45, it's $169. (Wolf ammo is less expensive, but many people avoid it.) If you buy Winchester White Box or Blazer Brass at WalMart, 9mm remains considerably less expensive than the others. This obviously matters more to some people than others.

    Not sure how much you plan to shoot, but 500 rounds will last me about 2.5 practice sessions, so maybe a month. If my wife joins me, as she usually does, we'll go through most of that 500 in one session.

    Also note that defense ammo should be thoroughly tested in your particular pistol to ensure reliability, so you have to buy enough to test and carry.
    A family that shoots together, stays together. Man I'd love it if my wife were at all interested.

    Good to know.. It's making that 'premium' pricing for that used 92F at $550 not hurt so bad.

    Due to reason in my first statement (The Mr's), I'll be shooting pretty much when I can get away.. So I imagine if I get to the range one or maybe two times a month, that'd be a treat.. Conservatively, I'll bet there will be more like 2-4 trips in a year. (two small kids)

  7. #7
    Liko81 is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    214
    Quote Originally Posted by babs View Post
    A family that shoots together, stays together. Man I'd love it if my wife were at all interested.

    Good to know.. It's making that 'premium' pricing for that used 92F at $550 not hurt so bad.

    Due to reason in my first statement (The Mr's), I'll be shooting pretty much when I can get away.. So I imagine if I get to the range one or maybe two times a month, that'd be a treat.. Conservatively, I'll bet there will be more like 2-4 trips in a year. (two small kids)
    Make sure the first of those trips happens ASAP, and that during that trip you become reasonably proficient with that weapon. I could give you a set benchmark and say, "if you do this, you're proficient", but really it's up to you. Personally I would measure the longest line of sight within your home (upstairs to downstairs, longest hallway, etc.) and use that as your goal range, at which you should be able to achieve a 6" grouping centered on a man-sized target. Until you can do that, the gun is a target pistol, NOT a personal/home defense weapon.

    If you're not going to make many trips, you need a solid grounding in how that gun operates, from its controls and action to the trigger feel to recoil, otherwise it's worse than useless to you as a home defense tool. I would recommend one trip per month as the ABSOLUTE minimum to maintain your marksmanship and other weapon skills. If you don't have time/money for that, a baseball bat and Brinks will give cheaper and safer home security than a pistol you can't control.

    Small children = you better find a DAMN secure place to keep that gun. No ifs ands or buts; your children's safety is jeopardized more by having the gun within their easy reach than by not having it available when you need it. There are thumbprint, handprint, quick-punch combination etc. safes designed for the best compromise; you keep it open at your bedside when you're in bed, closed and locked otherwise. Even when locked you can open and retrieve your weapon in two seconds but nobody else you haven't authorized can do the same. Once your children are old enough to understand, then sit them down and show them the gun. Tell them what it's used for (for you to use to keep them safe), let them hold it (unloaded) to demystify it, and stress that they are not to touch it without you watching them. Trust me; your kids will look EVERYWHERE for their Christmas/B-day presents, and they WILL find your gun. If they've been warned off it, they will be less likely to hurt themselves with it. If you feel they'd understand the four rules, teach them and they'll be still less likely to get hurt.

    I'm not trying to warn you off buying a gun; it is the ultimate equalizer and the only thing that beats a guy with a gun is two guys with two guns, and besides all that it's just fun to shoot. I'm just making sure you know; that same equalization that makes the gun so desireable means it is deadly in anyone's hands, be it those of your wife who has never shot it, your kids who do not understand what it can do, or the BG who took it from you because you hesitated.

  8. #8
    babs's Avatar
    babs is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    596
    Excellent advice and words of wisdom. Thanks

    I should clarify..

    I probably didn't mention in this thread, I do plan on getting as much as possible time at the range at the start for various things.. my personal gun knowledge, safety, proficiency, skills, etc... Immediate time after (or maybe before) I make the purchase, I plan on some significant individual lessons with a pro at the local range that also trains a lot of the local LEO's..

    And I'll probably maintain some continuing proficiency upkeep of somekind, depending on what they recommend.. I should probably count that on-top of just visiting the range for practice.

    I do come from a proficiency in hunting and rifles, and ain't a bad archer as well if I say so myself. But the handgun will be my first so I plan to learn correctly.. as I know shooter can be the weakest link.

    Oh dad-gum right! I couldn't agree more about the safety with kids..... That can't be stated enough.. Just the thought..... I couldn't think about it.. No way will there be an insecure weapon in the house.

    Considering one of the Gunvault brand multi-shelf safes probably in regular combination rather than the bio version.. hard-mounted to a higher shelf in the closet shelving I'm thinking. Good advice.. I'm already on it.

  9. #9
    Joeshwa24's Avatar
    Joeshwa24 is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    I live in a small town in New Mexico
    Posts
    165
    Wow when I came in this thread I halfway expected it to be a blood bath...way to keep it civil guys.

    I think the best thing you can do is to shoot each, if you can get to a range that will let you rent guns then that's the way to go. As far as ammo cost... I just get my Hand gun ammo at walmart. The Cheap practice stuff there is 10 bucks for 50 rounds of .40 cal and thats just as good as anything online....

  10. #10
    babs's Avatar
    babs is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    596
    hehe.. yeah kinda like the threads over at the harley forum about Indians or Victory or Honda etc bikes.. The guys that end up in the thread discussions are usually guys that like 'em all, (if they have two-wheels they're fun) which surprises a lot of folks.

    Yeah I need to get into the range and try out the different guns.. Their HS2000 rental with 20k+ rounds through it really impressed me with it's condition.. I can see why the XD's are so hot. But I've got a nice list going of pistols I want to try. 92 of some flavor, xd, m&p, p99, 24/7. I'd love to throw in a Sig or HK USP in there but they're bumping out of my budget so why torment myself.

    ... Here's a question....
    Should I try different guns of same caliber first, or same gun with different caliber? hmmm

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    469
    Two words: Shot placement.

    It doesn't matter if you shoot a .22lr or a .45ACP caliber semi-auto, it's all about the experience of the shooter. Just my opinion.

  12. #12
    Old Padawan's Avatar
    Old Padawan is offline Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    818

    training

    I shot on occasion up to about 3 years ago when I met and befriended (much to his chagrin) a serious shooter. I was amazed at what I didn’t know. My shooting sessions became much more realistic and methodical. Then I attended Front Sight a couple of times. I have carried a gun for 20 years. The shooter I was prior to 3 years ago and the shooter I am now are far different. Now I shoot at least twice a month, my presentation is better, my trigger work is better, and my shooting on the move is better.
    Its to late to make a long story short, but here is my point.
    Caliber choice as you have listed is irrelevant to stopping a threat. All of the listed calibers are good.
    Get some training to augment your shooting sessions. Practice as often as you can, but practice smart.
    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

  13. #13
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
    TOF is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northern Arizona
    Posts
    3,015
    I haven't read every word in this topic but what I did didn't address barrel length. You mentioned HD and targets but not CC. If you don't plan on carying it I reccomend you look at longer (5") barrels. They will provide longer sight radius and usualy better accuracy because of the sights.

    Loading your own ammo reduces the cost and will allow you to shoot more.

    Enjoy whatever you get.


  14. #14
    Liko81 is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    214
    Quote Originally Posted by babs View Post
    ... Here's a question....
    Should I try different guns of same caliber first, or same gun with different caliber? hmmm
    Of those two, I'd recommend shooting guns of one caliber first. A Glock full-size of any caliber tends to feel like any other FS in your hand, and a Ruger P90 feels the same as a P89, the 90's just chambered for .45. If you don't like the P89, you're not going to like the P90. If you don't like the Glock 19, don't bother with the G21.

    Really I'd shoot a couple guns each of increasing calibers (9mm to .40S&W to .45ACP, maybe throw in 357Sig, 357Mag and 38 if you can afford to). You'll then have a baseline for how hard and snappy the recoil is (which is the main difference feel-wise between full-frames of all calibers). Decide which caliber is best (meaning the largest caliber you can keep on-target when double-tapping or rapidly unloading) and test every gun in that caliber available. The gun you end up buying may not have been your first choice to test; in fact it likely won't. However, the gun you bought without firing has the greatest chance of being the gun you never use, regardless of how comfortable it feels in your hand.

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Springfield Armory

» HGF Sponsors

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.1